A public opinion poll in New Zealand may foretell the future of dog ownership due to the rising costs—monetarily, physically and emotionally—of increasing canine attacks worldwide.
This is not breed specific. Here’s what the poll asked and how it was answered:
In the wake of several serious dog attacks, the majority of New Zealanders want dog owners—not just their dogs—to be compulsorily registered. It’s already in place in Auckland and Wellington, but is Timaru [a major port city] ready for dog-owner licensing?
Fifty-nine percent (59%) of people who were polled support registering dog owners.
Auckland Council has a voluntary program in which dog owners take a written test showing how much they know about handling and caring for dogs, and they have a property inspection.
If they pass, they get a ‘Responsible Dog Owner License’ and reduction in dog-licensing fees. (Wellington City Council has a similar approach.)
At present, it is a legal requirement for all dogs to be registered, but dog owners do not have to be licensed or registered.
The SPCA is calling for this type of owner-licensing to be mandatory across New Zealand.
People interviewed by the Herald generally thought licensing owners was a good idea but did not see how that would prevent dog attacks.